08 AUGUST 2012
Mindanao’s power shortage worsens
Parts of Mindanao have suffered power supply interruptions anew as the island’s already-insufficient generation capacity has been eroded by emergency repair and preventive maintenance work on some plants, officials said yesterday.
Milfrance Q. Capulong, National Grid Corporate of the Philippines (NGCP) corporate communications officer for Mindanao, said the island’s power situation is back to "red alert" status, indicating severe deficiency in supply.
"There has been an increase in the curtailment level since Aug. 1. Power deficiency in the Mindanao grid reached a high of 400 megawatts (MW) last Monday," Ms. Capulong said.
NGCP’s Web site showed the island’s electricity shortage yesterday eased to 270 MW, with peak demand of 1,239 MW outstripping 969 available capacity.
The current shortage, however, still pales in comparison to the deficiency approaching 600 MW that struck Mindanao in 2010 as a prolonged drought left dry dams that power the hydro plants that contribute more than half the entire island’s supply.
Ms. Capulong also noted that while Typhoon Gener (international name Saola) did not make landfall when it passed to the east of the country early last week, winds and rains it spawned affected some of NGCP’s transmission facilities in Mindanao.
Ms. Capulong did not identify power plants that went on emergency shutdown nor those currently under preventive maintenance.
Neither could she say when power supply would return to normal.
Santiago C. Tudio, South Cotabato Electric Cooperative 1 (Socoteco-1) manager, said the cooperative implemented a one-hour rotating brownout in its coverage area due to the load curtailment.
The schedule of interruption, however, could change depending on the advisory of the NGCP, he said, adding that Mindanao needs new plants if sufficient power reserves are to be built up.
"The brownouts that we’re experiencing would continue unless new power plants would rise [sic]," Mr. Tudio said.
Socoteco-1 serves this city and eight towns in South Cotabato, as well as Lutayan in Sultan Kudarat.
Mr. Tudio said the National Power Corp.-operated Agus and Pulangi hydro power plants have declining capacities due to low water level.
He added that supply from Therma Marine Corp., a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power Corp., was also reduced due to some problems with its power barges.
Rodolfo Ocat, South Cotabato Electric Cooperative 2 manager, said the cooperative started implementing daily rotating outages last Friday, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. He said the two-hour daily rotating brownouts will last until Saturday in its coverage area, which includes this city, the whole of Sarangani province and two towns in South Cotabato. "The power situation, as advised by the NGCP, is unstable," Mr. Ocat said in an advisory.
STEAG State Power Inc., which has two plants each capable of producing 100 MW, did not proceed with preventive maintenance scheduled last weekend, Jerome R. Soldevilla, the company’s spokesperson, said in a phone interview.
"The first unit was supposed to be shut down for preventive maintenance on Aug. 4-5 but it didn’t happen since our technical personnel had fixed those needing repairs beforehand," he said.
"The second unit was scheduled for repair on Aug. 18 and 19 but this again won’t anymore take place because we had the opportunity to fix things even before."
Read article source in Business World Online